Appleton's big day leads sweep of MCU
LEBANON, Tenn. – Greg Appleton hit a pair of home runs and scored four times and Aaron Wilkerson allowed just three hits and struck out five in the second game, as second-ranked Cumberland swept a doubleheader Thursday against Mid-Continent, 7-3 and 12-0, in Mayfield, Ky.
The Bulldogs (45-8, 16-2 TranSouth) extended their winning streak to 16 games with the two victories and secured the outright regular season conference championship. Matt Greener collected two hits in both ends of the twinbill while Appleton scored five runs in the two contests.
Appleton led off the second game with a solo homer and added a three-run shot in the fourth. He also scored on an error in the third and on an RBI single by Greener in the fifth.
The support was more than enough for Wilkerson (10-1), who won his 10th straight decision while giving up two singles and a double in four innings. The righthander struck out five and did not walk a batter. Keith Kirby tossed the final inning for the Bulldogs.
MCU’s William Brown (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on four hits in 3.2 innings with three walks, a hit batter and two strikeouts. Josh Bowman and Jacob McMican got the final four outs for the Cougars, giving up six runs on four hits.
In the second game Cumberland plated five unearned runs in the second inning thanks to three Mid-Continent errors and Sam Kikla and Brian Karahalios both homered for a 7-3 triumph.
Shawn Schaefer (11-0) kept his record perfect with six innings of work, allowing two earned runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts. The Cougars scored twice in the fourth and once in the fifth and had runners on first and third with no one out in the fifth before the Bulldogs turned a triple play to end the threat. Appleton dove for a line drove at third, lunged and touched the bag and then threw across to complete the most unlikely of plays.
Daniel Kern tossed a scoreless seventh inning for CU, allowing just a two-out single.
Hunter Barge (3-5) took the loss for MCU, giving up seven runs, two earned, on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Kikla went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a solo homer, while Greener added a pair of hits.
Cumberland scored five runs in the second inning of the opener thanks to a lot of help from the Cougars.
David Fanshawe doubled with one out and pinch-runner Jason Frost moved to third on a groundout by Karahalios. Jesse Bowman’s grounder was booted by MCU second baseman Steven Riley, allowing Frost to score. Bowman stole second and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Lance Davis on a grounder off the bat of Dave Weyer.
Weyer stole second, moved to third when the throw got away and scored on an RBI single by Appleton. Burge’s pickoff throw to first got away, moving Appleton to second, and he scored on Kikla’s single through the leftside. Kikla went to second on the throw to the plate and scored on Greener’s RBI single to leftcenter.
The Cougars got on the board in the first after three straight hits to start the inning by Davis, Adam Connor and William Ruthven. After a strikeout Tyler Johnson grounded out, plating Davis. A walk loaded the bases again before Joe Joe Simms beat out an infield single, a chopper behind the mound, scoring Connor and cutting the Bulldog lead to 5-2.
Daniel Edwards reached on an error to start the MCU fourth and Davis followed with a double to rightcenter. Connor’s single to right scored one run, but Ruthven lined out to third and it turned into a triple day, as Appleton stretched and tagged the third base bag and then fired across the diamond for the third out.
The Bulldogs got one run back in the fifth with a solo homer to right from Karahalios, his first of the season, extending CU’s lead to 6-3.
Kikla belted a solo homer in the seventh, his 14th of the year, for the final run of the contest.
The Bulldogs started quickly in the second game, with Appleton leading off with a home run to rightcenter, his 13th of the season. Kikla followed with a sharp grounder to third, but Johnson bobbled the ball and then threw it away, allowing Kikla to move all the way around to third. Greener singled home the run for an early 2-0 CU advantage.
In the Bulldog third Appleton was hit with one out and Greener walked with two outs. Kris Miller then grounded to second baseman Alex Harper, who booted the ball, allowing Appleton to score on the play.
In the fourth Karahalios doubled down the rightfield line and Max Kautz walked before Appleton blasted his second homer of the game, a three-run shot to leftcenter, for a 6-0 Bulldog lead.
Cumberland added six more runs in the fifth, starting with walks to Troy Frazier and pinch-hitter Eric Vetetoe. Karahalios singled through the leftside, plating Frazier. With two outs pinch-hitter T.J. Murphy doubled home two runs and Appleton reached on another throwing error by Davis, allowing Murphy to score.
Kikla doubled and Greener had an RBI single. Appleton scored and Kikla came across when Johnson made another throwing error on the play for a 12-0 Bulldog advantage.
Cumberland ends the regular season Friday with a 2 p.m. single game against the Cougars. The Bulldogs will play at Noon on Monday, May 10, in the first game of the TranSouth Championships against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.